Gang rape accused are 'good boys'
Johannesburg - Friends and relatives of seven young men, including a 14-year-old boy, accused of gang raping a teenage girl cannot believe that their "kind-hearted" boys have been accused of the horrendous crime, a report said on Friday.
The group were described as “god-fearing”, “kind-hearted”, “good” and “hard-working”, The Times reported.
The gang rape of the girl, said to be mentally challenged, was filmed and went viral on the internet, causing a national outcry.
The emotional grandmother of one of the accused teenagers described the youth.
To her, he is just "a lovely boy".
"He's not bad. He can't have done this. This is not my boy. There has been a mistake. He can't be this monster people say he is. I know that he is not evil," she said.
‘Can it really be them?’
Her battle to comprehend his alleged atrocity came as the friend of another accused told of that family's refusal to accept their son's role in the assault.
"It is just not true. It cannot be they who did this. They are good boys. They are little children. Can it really be them? Did he really do this terrible thing?" she asked.
Outside the court, dozens of protesters bayed for the group’s blood, calling for them to be necklaced and holding up posters with statements such as: "Monsters. Cut the penis. No bail."
Meanwhile, the Medical Research Council's gender and health research unit director, Professor Rachel Jewkes, revealed that recent studies in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng showed that one in 10 men had been involved in a gang rape.
"The studies show gang rapes are carried out by young men either as a rite of passage or by men seeking entertainment, and testing their boundaries and power over women.
"What is happening is a frightening and very common problem, which is increasing as older youths teach and show younger ones how to carry out these horrendous acts.
"The most common motivation is that it is fun and that the rapists, who do not see themselves as monsters, are entitled to do what they do, with vulnerable women specifically targeted," Jewkes said.
‘Women fair game in SA’
Sonke Gender Justice Network spokesperson Mbuyiselo Botha told The Times South Africa's tolerance of sexual violence had led to an increase in attacks "which are being carried out with impunity".
"These attacks are carried out because of a sense of entitlement. In South Africa, women are fair game, with men carrying out attacks because they know they will get away with it.
"The group mentality around gang rapes comes from young people wanting to prove themselves as real men, masculine, strong and in control.
"The thinking is that, to be in control, you must conquer a woman, with those involved in such rapes feeding off and affirming each other's bravery and dominance.
Botha also warned that the "ritual-like" attacks were becoming worse.